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Potential Diesel buyer advice?

14538 Views 74 Replies 33 Participants Last post by  BDCCruze
Hi everyone!

I've been seriously looking at the Cruze diesel for some time to replace my trusty (but sadly rusting out) Escape. I've had my eye on it for some time but am finally getting serious and was hoping for some advise. I figure what better advise than in this thread?!

So I have some requirements with my car search:

1) Excellent fuel economy; I do a lot of driving; long commute to work and multiple locations etc so something efficient is a big help to my budget. Even with spending more on diesel the economy is impressive
2) space; my needs are modest but I do often have to lug some supplies around for work (IT) so a hatch would be ideal. A truck/SUV is overkill and I'm actually looking to buck the trend and downsize to a car. I do have to have enough space for a car seat for my son (who is 2.5) but other than that I rarely need to carry passengers especially not in the back so rear space isn't too critical. That said I am about 6'1 or 6'2 so I do need to fit reasonably comfortably.
3) at least a little bit fun to drive. I'd like to get the 6 speed assuming its an easy manual to live with. I'm a bit rusty driving a stick (learned on a TDI jetta years ago) A real high performance car probably wouldn't be as easy for me to live with my daily commute. Also hoping for something comfortable that doesn't feel really cheap inside. I really liked the look of the fancy seats available; for a car I spend so much time in in should be nice despite my modest budget. I've locked at sportier cars (ie fiesta ST, but honestly those seem a little small and maybe not the easiest to live with day in/out not to mention MPGS not quite where I want) I'm 33 years old so I haven't totally given up yet but I may be too old for some other cars lol

The combination of these things keeps leading me back to the Cruze. I was quite disappointed to see it being discontinued (and the 2019 eliminating the manual) So my hope has been to find a 2018 hatchback 6 speed unfortunately they seem to be hard to find. Im assuming you can't order them anymore. I'm willing to go out of state to get what i want. I just found a 2018 manual hatch with about 20k miles for 17.5 which seems pretty reasonable (not my exact specs but I may have to compromise a little given how rare they seem to be)

Is anyone willing to share their advice on this car or the process of finding/buying one?

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Unless you can get a diesel Cruze for zero or very close to zero cost over a comparable gasoline model, it's a worthless purchase. Even for zero cost it's still questionable. Fuel costs will be higher to the point that the higher fuel economy will not offset the additional purchase price of a gasoline model. That, and every single part to maintain or repair a diesel model is higher cost than the gasoline engine. You can easily achieve 40+ mpg highway with gasoline Cruze vehicles. Buying a diesel gets you about 50 mpg, so it's a 25% increase in fuel economy. But the cost of fuel is higher and then DEF is a cost factor.

In about 16,000 miles of driving I have figured out that a diesel purchase just doesn't make sense when you can get high efficiency with a gasoline model.
I have a 2013 Chevy Sonic sedan, which is one size smaller than my Cruze, but it still has a fairly large trunk. It has a 1.8 liter non-turbo 4 cylinder engine and 5 speed manual transmission. I get 36 MPG average mostly in city driving with A/C on, around 40 MPG in highway driving. And this on regular 87 octane. Very few issues with the car so far, I have 86k miles on it. Getting 50 MPG with Cruze vs 40 MPG with Sonic does not translate to any savings, as diesel is about 50 cents/gallon more expensive than regular gas. Plus the cost of DEF.

I like the Sonic shifter better than the one in Cruze, as it has shorter throws. Interestingly enough, while where were numerous issues with the 6 speed manual transmission in Cruze initially (also used in Sonic with 1.4 turbo engine), there were practically no problems with the 5 speed manual version.
I have owned several diesel cars in my life and last year chose to get a Cruz diesel. I personally like the power economy and ride. I debated the cruise and the Jetta however the Jetta is our scares and demanding a lot of money. Also is the Jetta is dated compared to the cruise. The technology package is nice I enjoy that very much. On the way home I got 60.7 miles per gallon then while at the dealership they had a California recall that cut into the economy by 10 percent. I always get 40 miles a gallon knocking around my neighborhood and a little over 50 on trips. I will probably chip The car later on. In fact, I like the car so much I will be purchasing an extended warranty for 150,000 miles. So in closing I would like to say from me, I love the car and I am happy with my decision.
Can you elaborate on that "California recall"? Is this something that involves only automatic transmission cars or manual one too? To my knowledge , these cars are 50 states compliant, so there is nothing different about cars sold in California that would require a California specific recall.
Hmmm, I just had a gasoline Cruze rental on a business trip. 169 miles, virtually all highway... 33MPG, calculated from 5 gallons of fuel. I just got 52MPG in my Diesel, calculated, virtually identical driving conditions. That is a pretty massive difference. I could add that the gasoline engine screams higher RPM yet doesn't have the get up an go low end torque of the diesel. Where I live there is minimal cost difference from gasoline to Diesel, some parts of the US diesel is cheaper. As to DEF, it's statistically insignificant. A $7 2.5gallon jug at Walmart will get you well over 6000 miles... That is about a penny every 10 miles, and it's possible to get cheaper DEF at truck stops.
Yes, it's true the Diesel costs more to buy, but I got 2 of mine for $20k, well equipped... A comparable gasoline car with similar options would be about $17-18 k.. over the first 6 years with 12k/year the fuel cost savings cover that and then some, drive 24k per year it's covered in about 3 years. Beyond that the fuel savings cover the possible additional parts costs. This is just math. I should point out that it's typical to get near double the milage before overhaul than a much higher RPM gasoline engine.. that and there have been some difficulty with the gasoline engine and burning pistons, and some have determined that it really is best to use 89 or higher octane fuel to get best performance... All that said, the gasoline engine car is a fine option for some, especially if you look to replace the car before 5 years, and definitely if you drive limited miles. The diesel is an option that can make sense for higher milage, especially highway heavy drivers.

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Don't assume gasoline engine cars cannot be as just as durable as diesel engine cars. While there are diesel cars which, when properly maintained, could go well over 500k miles without any major engine or transmission work (e.g. 123 chassis Mercedes Benz 300 D), I seriously doubt that is the case with more modern diesel cars. Cars are simply built too cheap nowadays, engines are way too complicated with ridiculous emission systems, and even if the engine block/transmission can last a long time, it is the electronic controls and sensors that will make repairs economically unsustainable as the car or truck ages.

I had 340k miles on my 1999 Mazda 626 ES V6 and the car still ran great with the original engine and transmission without any major work having been done(I bought the car new). I know of people who had Volvo 240 cars with 300k+ miles on the original engine/transmission. Same for Nissan hardbody pickups and Toyota 1980s pick up trucks, some with well over 500k miles on the original engines/transmissions.
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I'd be nervous owning any late model diesel out of warranty. See how much just one fuel injector costs or a turbo or the injection pump. Plus all the complicated emissions stuff. On a $50K pickup used for work, OK. But a few years down the road when it's worth under $10K and the dealer wants $2000 to replace the turbo, you might regret it.
The injector pressures in these cars are around 20,000 psi vs about 2,000 psi for mechanical fuel injector older diesels. I too suspect that repairs on this engine will be very expensive once out of warranty. And GM could not even offer a 100k miles, 5 year powertrain warranty on this diesel engine? I am not encouraged when I see cheap materials used in construction of this car. Cheap plastic everywhere, even clutch master cylinder and hydraulic line to clutch slave cylinder is plastic!
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